Saturday, March 31, 2007

"¡Ay ay ay! ¡No Me Gusta!"

In one of those nice bits of surrealism that comprise everyday life here, it turns out that one of the leaders of the anti-abortion movement in Mexico is "Bumblebee Man" from The Simpsons.

Okay, not exactly. First of all, I feel kind of dumb admitting this, but I had no idea that Bumblebee Man was based on an actual person: El Chapulin Colorado, a creation of the Mexican comic Roberto Gómez Bolaños, known to his fans as Chespirito. Chespirito is getting on in years - he's 78 now - and doesn't spend as much time doing pratfalls as he used to, but that doesn't mean he's faded away quietly.

Abortion, like tossing severed human heads on a dance floor, is illegal in Mexico but, like tossing severed human heads on a dance floor, it happens all the time. Botched abortions are in fact the fifth most common cause of death for Mexican women. Doctors who perform them face up to ten years in prison, which is more than you get for kidnapping and raping a handicapped child here in Queretaro. Now there's a proposed law that would make some abortions legal, and only in Mexico City. Opposition is fierce, of course, and leading the public relations backlash is - Ay, Chihuahua! - Señor Chespirito.

In radio spots being broadcast all over the country, Gomez recounts the heartwarming story of how his mother, pregnant with him, suffered a terrible accident and was on the brink of death, when her doctor (this is in 1929, by the way) recommended terminating the pregnancy. "'Me? Abort? Never!!' she said. She was defending life - my life! And thanks to that, I'm here today!"

So there you have it. Pro-choice = Anti-Bumblebee Man. It's as good an argument as any.

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